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house Bill H.R. 2735

Should the Presidential Budget Include the Total Amount Requested by Each Intel Agency?

Argument in favor

This bipartisan bill increases intelligence agencies’ accountability to U.S. taxpayers, who deserve to know at a high-level know where these tax dollars go. This would satisfy the transparency recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Robert's Opinion
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06/30/2019
Only if there is a way to prevent DJT from transferring the money to another agency
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burrkitty's Opinion
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06/30/2019
A top line total is not a security risk since it doesn’t indicate where, how, or the efficiency of the money spent in any way. For too long most of our “security” departments have had a blank check. We NEED spending oversight.
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06/30/2019
Part of the changes we need in Congress includes holding our representatives to account for their budgetary votes. IMHO, it is difficult to require accountability and to have information to measure legislator votes against if the information is withheld from those who are to be held accountable. Even if the public may not, for security reasons, be permitted access to that information, our legislators should be. There should, however, be some aspect of this change that ensures the security of any sensitive information by limiting the details in this more public version of the budget.
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Argument opposed

Intelligence agencies’ activities are often covert and even revealing their top-line budgets without disclosing line-item details could signal America’s priorities to its foreign adversaries, hindering or compromising national security.

jimK's Opinion
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06/30/2019
Not an easy question to answer. The detailed total budgets for each agencies specific missions would clearly indicate the threats that our country is prepared/preparing for (eg. foreign vs domestic, sea vs land vs air vs space, cyber response vs cyber defense, etc). Since those threats are the purview of Congressional intelligence committees and not the general Congress, how could total budgets for each agency even be publicly assessed? I have to say Nay. On the flip side, showing budgets would definitely encourage responsible spending and meaningful sharing of intel between agencies. If there were a clear “middle-ground” way of packaging these intel budgets that prevented signaling of our intel interests and aid in budget transparency, I would whole-heartedly support it.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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06/30/2019
👎🏻 H.R. 2735 AKA the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2019 👎🏻 I’m in strong opposition to House bill H.R. 2735 AKA the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2019 which would require the president’s annual budget submission to Congress include the dollar amount requested for intelligence or intelligence-related activities by each intelligence agency. This would allow the public to see the total amount provided to each agency, but not line-item expenses. Intelligence agencies’ activities are often covert and even revealing their top-line budgets without disclosing line-item details could signal America’s priorities to its foreign adversaries, hindering or compromising national security. SneakyPete..... 👎🏻👎🏻😎😎👎🏻👎🏻. 6.30.19.....
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James's Opinion
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06/30/2019
No! And Hell No! Many Intelligence agencies perform a whole lot of sensitive duties that are crucial to the existence of not only this Republic but our friends and allies world wide! We cannot afford to give little BS reps like Ocasio Cortez an open security clearance and sit on any commute where she or anyone like her would give he information to tge press! The United States Military and Our Civilian Intelligence Assets must me protected at all times! The total budget must not include monetary allowances or assets for our intelligence community ever!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Budget
    IntroducedMay 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2735?

This bill — the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2019 — would require the president’s annual budget submission to Congress include the dollar amount requested for intelligence or intelligence-related activities by each intelligence agency. This would allow the public to see the total amount provided to each agency, but not line-item expenses.

Under current law, members of Congress can only see the total amount of the budget request unless they’re members of the intelligence committee or have otherwise been briefed on the matter.

Impact

The general public; members of Congress; intelligence agencies; and the White House.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2735

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Peter Welch (D-VT) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to require the president to disclose the topline annual budget request to Congress from each of the 16 federal agencies conducting intelligence activities. When he introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, he said:

“The biggest threat to the success of any federal program is a combination of unlimited money and non-existent oversight. That's the situation Congress has allowed to develop in the critical work of intelligence gathering. The top-line intelligence budgets for America's 16 intelligence agencies are unknown to the American taxpayer and largely unknown to the Members of Congress who represent them. It's led to dubious policies, wasted money and questionable effectiveness. Americans have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent and that their national security interests are being well served.”

In a letter to his Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this bill last Congress, Rep. Welch added that releasing topline budgets wouldn’t jeopardize national security:

“Ensuring America’s national security requires professional and competent intelligence agencies. But the urgency of the mission assigned to the 16 intelligence agencies should not shield them from budget accountability and transparency. In fact, the urgency of their mission makes the need for transparency even greater in order to assure Congress and the American people of the quality and effectiveness of their work… Simply disclosing the top-line spending at these agencies would not risk national security by identifying specific activities. It would, however, shed some much-needed light on the secrecy surrounding intelligence spending. The American people will be better served by knowing where they send their hard-earned tax dollars.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who sponsored this bill in the 115th Congress, said:

“By operating secret programs funded by secret budgets, our national intelligence agencies enjoy a blank check as far as the American taxpayers are concerned. With little to no public oversight, it is even more important that Americans have at least some sense of whether they’re getting what they paid for. Requiring the disclosure of these budget requests is the first step in achieving greater accountability and transparency of these agencies.”

This bill has one cosponsor, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). In the 115th Congress, it had five bipartisan House cosponsors, including three Republicans and two Democrats, and didn’t receive a committee vote. The Senate version of this bill, sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (R-OR), had one cosponsor, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), in the 115th Congress and didn’t receive a committee vote.


Of NoteCurrently, intelligence agency budgets are funded with a so-called “black budget” supplement that is debated and voted upon behind closed doors by congressional appropriators. Until recently, not even aggregate intelligence spending requests were disclosed.

The 9/11 Commission recommended the disclosure of top-line budget figures from each intelligence agency in order to increase transparency and accountability. In its report, the Commission wrote, “when even aggregate categorical numbers remain hidden, it is hard to judge priorities and foster accountability.”

This bill would require disclosure of funding requests from the following agencies: Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and Navy Intelligence.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / undefined undefined)

AKA

Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, to require that the annual budget submissions of the Presidents include the total dollar amount requested for intelligence or intelligence-related activities of each element of the Government engaged in such activities.

    Only if there is a way to prevent DJT from transferring the money to another agency
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    Not an easy question to answer. The detailed total budgets for each agencies specific missions would clearly indicate the threats that our country is prepared/preparing for (eg. foreign vs domestic, sea vs land vs air vs space, cyber response vs cyber defense, etc). Since those threats are the purview of Congressional intelligence committees and not the general Congress, how could total budgets for each agency even be publicly assessed? I have to say Nay. On the flip side, showing budgets would definitely encourage responsible spending and meaningful sharing of intel between agencies. If there were a clear “middle-ground” way of packaging these intel budgets that prevented signaling of our intel interests and aid in budget transparency, I would whole-heartedly support it.
    Like (39)
    Follow
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    A top line total is not a security risk since it doesn’t indicate where, how, or the efficiency of the money spent in any way. For too long most of our “security” departments have had a blank check. We NEED spending oversight.
    Like (33)
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    I don’t know how to vote on this. I don’t trust Congress in its current state as they’ve proven to be inept and to politicize everything from the security of our nation and beyond. For that reason, I’m inclined to vote no. However, I also don’t trust the intelligence agencies themselves to be accountable to the tax payer and our trillion dollar deficit needs to get in check! I wish I could rely on government to do what’s right and best, but unfortunately I can’t. It’s a sad state of affairs in that regard.
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    Part of the changes we need in Congress includes holding our representatives to account for their budgetary votes. IMHO, it is difficult to require accountability and to have information to measure legislator votes against if the information is withheld from those who are to be held accountable. Even if the public may not, for security reasons, be permitted access to that information, our legislators should be. There should, however, be some aspect of this change that ensures the security of any sensitive information by limiting the details in this more public version of the budget.
    Like (19)
    Follow
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    👎🏻 H.R. 2735 AKA the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2019 👎🏻 I’m in strong opposition to House bill H.R. 2735 AKA the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2019 which would require the president’s annual budget submission to Congress include the dollar amount requested for intelligence or intelligence-related activities by each intelligence agency. This would allow the public to see the total amount provided to each agency, but not line-item expenses. Intelligence agencies’ activities are often covert and even revealing their top-line budgets without disclosing line-item details could signal America’s priorities to its foreign adversaries, hindering or compromising national security. SneakyPete..... 👎🏻👎🏻😎😎👎🏻👎🏻. 6.30.19.....
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    The American people have the right to know how our taxes are used! Transparency will go a long way in moving us more into a democracy!!Democracy requires an informed and engaged electorate!!
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    A budget is a budget. Line item by line item, where every dollar is going. Also should require justification for every dollar.
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    I would think that any budget is supposed to be like that, isn't it ? Bring back the line-item veto that the GOP did away with. The last time the Federal budget was balanced was when Pres. Clinton(D) was in office; The last time it was balanced by a Republican was when Eisenhower was in office ;-) Figure it out my fellow Americans ! #VoteForAnyoneOtherThanTheCrookedGOP !
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    No! And Hell No! Many Intelligence agencies perform a whole lot of sensitive duties that are crucial to the existence of not only this Republic but our friends and allies world wide! We cannot afford to give little BS reps like Ocasio Cortez an open security clearance and sit on any commute where she or anyone like her would give he information to tge press! The United States Military and Our Civilian Intelligence Assets must me protected at all times! The total budget must not include monetary allowances or assets for our intelligence community ever!
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    It’s understandable that displaying the line-item budget requests for our intelligence agencies is a security risk. However, a list of the total budget requests for each agency will not harm our intelligence activities since nobody will know exactly what the money is being used for. Our government needs to be as transparent as possible with public funds!
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    We telegraph to much with oversight and that allows the Democrats to leak information or sell it for political donations. There is a reason that certain budgets are outside perusal.
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    Support Peter Welch’s bill. Transparency in budget !
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    The concerns for upfront disclosure expressed are valid. Perhaps a compromise would be to require a line item reporting after the fact. This then would either prove or disprove wasteful spending and set the stage to implement a solution if necessary.
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    There are not enough specifics to allow me to answer this. Most of the time you can’t include everything you want in a budget because there is not enough money and you have to compromise; it’s much like a budget at home, I do think it’s important for intelligence to be funded as much as possible. They need to be monitoring Trump at every corner less he sells us out to a foreign country again.
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    We pay taxes to the feds for purportedly legitimate purposes. We are entitled to an itemized bill.
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    Not if it does not make sense. It should not always be more and more. It should be improve, save, improve save. It is our money.
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    Yes.
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    He is the president, head of executive branch!
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    When it comes to the INTEL agencies the Traitor in Chief NEEDS TO SHUT UP AND DO WHAT THEY TELL HIM!!! We have never in my lifetime had a President take the side of Dictator’s, Autocrats, and Kings that are ENEMIES OF AMERICA over the word of our intel agencies. The Traitor in Chief has no leg to stand on when it comes to defending America. Because when it comes to it, he would send our troops to die if Putin asked.
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